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The Trek Liquid 30

By Justin Allen

Wordstoliveby@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Multiple Personalities…

About a year ago I went for a ride in southern California with a friend of mine.  I was on my trusty Trek 4900 and he was on his beefy Foes DH Mono.  The ride was definitely not a cross-country ride and contained no climbs or flat sections.  I discovered as I came flying down the mountain, trying to cling to my buddy’s wheel, that I felt every single bump that the mountain had to offer.  I knew there had to be an easier way to do this…a more comfortable way anyway.  The decision was made- it was time to buy a new bike.

After much research I narrowed the field down to three picks: Giant’s VT One, Giant’s AC One and Trek’s Liquid 30.  They all offered what my spine and I were looking for: rear suspension.  Both the VT One and the Liquid 30 offered what seemed to me to be a required featured: adjustable rear travel.

            After much thought and saving of pennies I decided I wanted to go with the Trek.  I appreciate their customer service and the lifetime frame warranties that they offer. In the two years I spent working at Covina Valley Cyclery I had never encountered a problem with the company.  I also like the fact that the upper end Trek bikes are built in the USA.

            The day that I first sat on my Liquid I knew that I had made the right decision.  I had never felt so comfortable on a bike before.  The geometry just felt right.  I didn’t feel like I was trying to tame a beast…it felt like I was straddling a work of engineering art. 

             On the trail the Liquid performs like a champ.  I would say that the best trait this bike offers is it’s variable travel.  On a climb you can reduce the fork to three inches and open up the shock to 5 inches giving the bike a decidedly “nose down” feel.  This helps to flatten out those steep sections a bit.  On the downhill you can open up both the fork and the shock to 5 inches and blow over anything that stands in your path. 

            The XT component group also makes the Liquid 30 a shoe in for success.  The STI levers felt a little strange to me at first because I grew up with trigger shifters.  About half way through my first ride I decided that I would never ride with trigger shifters again.  The STI levers make shifting so much more fluid.  I like the fact that I can use my thumbs to grip my bars and my index fingers to hold my brake levers/shifters at the same time. 

            The only downfalls that I encountered with the Trek were the stock tires, the fork’s remote lockout and the excessive chain slap.  The stock tires are skinny and do offer solid traction in soft, loose dirt.  They slide around and make every corner a bit scarier then it needs to be. The fork lockout needs to be lubed before every ride.  Sometimes it will stick upon release.  It’s not a huge deal because if it gets stuck the bump force from the ground frees it up after a few feet.  The amount of chain slap on this bike is rather surprising.  You won’t hear it or feel it when you’re riding, you’ll only notice it upon examining what’s left of the paint on the chainstays.  I’ve fixed this problem with a chain stay protector and lots of black electrical tape.

           Some people think that the Liquid 30 is too heavy to climb with.  I have a 15.5-inch frame and it weighs in at just less than thirty-one pounds.  The extra weight (of the frame and the suspension components) hides itself well on the climb.  The wheels and crank are extremely light.  A wise bike shop mechanic once taught me that what makes a bike difficult to climb with is it’s rotational weight i.e. the wheels/tires and crank. 

           All in all, I feel the Trek Liquid 30 is more bike than one could ask for.  It is a mount with multiple personalities…it can be set up for long cross country rides or fast downhill assaults.  I don’t recommend the Liquid 30 for beginners however, as the STI levers and suspension can be a little tricky if you don’t know what you are doing.  Two thumbs up in my book and a wise investment.